John MacDonald: PM's reward for Trevor Mallard is 'outrageous'

Trevor Mallard. Photo: Getty Images
Trevor Mallard. Photo: Getty Images
OPINION: We probably all know - or, at least, know of - someone who has been an absolute shocker at their job, but somehow they've gone on to get themselves an even better job somewhere else.

They might've been a manager who played favourites or was a complete control freak; or they might've been a fellow worker who had no idea what they were doing, complained all the time, and were a general pain in the backside. They might've even told lies and pretty much drove people out of the place with their behaviour.

Either way, not the sort of person you would imagine moving on to a better job.

But, somehow, they do and you're left scratching your head and asking yourself 'how the hell did that happen?'.

And that's how I'm feeling about Trevor Mallard.

As announced yesterday, he is retiring from Parliament and his current role as Speaker of the House, to become New Zealand's Ambassador in Ireland.

In fact, I'm not just scratching my head. I think it's outrageous that the Prime Minister has given him such a cushy role, when we all know he is a complete plonker.

Which is being generous really.

Because he's just awful. Well, that's my honest opinion - anyway.

And it wasn't that long ago that I was saying that I thought he'd lost the plot.

I wasn't on my own thinking that. And I don't feel any differently today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Speaker of the House Trevor...
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard and Chief Justice of New Zealand Dame Helen Winkelmann pose after Mallard's confirmation ceremony as part of the Commission Opening of Parliament at Government House on November 25, 2020 in Wellington. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Who can forget the ridiculous way he behaved during the big protest at Parliament earlier this year. Turned the sprinklers on the protesters - even though it was pouring with rain anyway - and blasted the Barry Manilow songs over the loudspeakers.

An absolute embarrassment. It was cringing. Behaving that way, as the most senior person not just in Parliament but at Parliament. In charge of pretty much everything, and there he was cranking up the sprinklers and blasting the music.

Which was bad enough on its own but let's not forget either the time he accused someone working at Parliament of rape - and then had to backtrack and reach a legal settlement over it all.

Judith Collins called for his resignation at the time, saying he acted as a bully, was a disgrace, and unfit for the job.

And I can't argue with that.

I saw him on TV the other week when he appeared before a select committee at Parliament and he was grilled about his handling of the anti-mandate protest.

From what I saw, I thought he was menacing towards the MPs asking the tough questions.

And I thought he was just a bully-boy the way he barged through journalists when he left the meeting room.

Just an awful, awful person - in my honest opinion. And others seem to think the same way.

It was only last week that a poll done for TVNZ found that only 17 per cent of people approved of the way he's been performing as Speaker.

But, despite the way he's behaved, despite what the people who pay his salary think of his performance (that's us taxpayers I'm talking about), and despite the things he's done and the misery he's caused, Trevor Mallard is moving on to be our diplomat in Ireland.

I looked up a definition of diplomat and this is what I found. A diplomat is "a person who can deal with others in a sensitive and tactful way".

Sensitive. Tactful. Trevor Mallard. I don't think so. Yet, the Prime Minister thinks he's the man for the job in Ireland and so he's off.

If there's a silver lining in all of this, it's the fact that we won't have to put up with him any longer.

And let's hope his successor is nowhere near the national embarrassment Mallard has been.

But it is galling, isn't it, that someone like him can be rewarded in this way.

In fact, it's not just galling - it is outrageous.

-By John MacDonald, Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch




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